Break out the prozac: Not only is Hannibal done for the season, it’s ended with the bleakest of all possible scenarios.
Let’s bitch it out…Okay, hands up: who thought the finale was going to go down that way?
I anticipated that creator Bryan Fuller and team would let Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) get away rather than lock him up behind bars, but I never expected it would occur at the expense of every single protagonist on the show. I mean, seriously, I can’t even reconcile the fact that Will (Hugh Dancy), Jack (Laurence Fishburne) and Alana (Caroline Dhavernas) are all lying mortality wounded in various parts of Hannibal’s house. Throw in Abigail (Kacey Rohl), who is revealed to be alive and – as Alan Sepinwall writes – “given the Miriam Lass treatment” before having her neck slit and it’s an all-around loss for the good guys on NBC’s cult series.
Moving away from the visceral elements of the concluding twenty minutes or so, it becomes easier to look at the finale objectively. The sheer emotionality of the conclusion is really in a league of its own, but there’s actually a pretty significant plot hole at the core of ‘Mizumono’. It has to do with Alana and why she all of the sudden believes that Hannibal is a killer. This occurs without any warning and we’re barely given a rationale for her sudden ephiphany. It is simply because Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is alive? Because that should just clear Will’s name, not implicate Hannibal. This out-of-nowhere development seriously detracts from her storyline, particularly when she stands up to Cynthia Nixon’s Kade Prurnell after the latter initiates an inquiry and orders arrest warrants for Jack and Will. Looking back on this second half of the season, it feels like both Alana and Jack have come around to the “Hannibal is a killer” side much too quickly.
What worked much better for me is Will’s confusion about Lecter. Last episode it felt little gimmicky, a plot device to make us question whether Will had really fallen under Lecter’s seductive spell simply to make us wonder. And yet, in ‘Mizumono’ it’s clear that Will isn’t acting; a part of him actually is enthralled with Hannibal. The opening scenes suggests this in a visually masterful way as Hannibal and Jack’s faces and dialogue merge together and Will offers an identical reply. Jack bluntly states that both he and Hannibal believe Will is their man, but it’s clear from these scenes that Will is committed to both. Later we see Will help Lecter burn incriminating evidence and, in the most telling moment of the episode, Will calls Lecter to warn him that “they know” in an effort to convince him to leave. Whether or not this in any way prepares Hannibal for his dramatic battle with Jack is unclear (I would say unlikely since he already suspects Will has betrayed him after he smells Freddie Lounds on him).
The moment that Jack sets foot in Hannibal’s house, all bets are off. Despite seeing the fight scene between the FBI head and the killer therapist before, there’s an amazing, dangerous kinetic energy as the men fight. With the addition of Alana in the mix, the horror movie flight up the stairs and all of the bloody machinations that follow, there’s a beautifully elegant feeling of dread that settles over the episode’s climax. By the time that Hannibal steps out into the rain to wash the blood off his face (not unlike a baptism or a rebirth), it’s clear that Fuller and co. have no intention of making this a happy closing chapter.
Ultimately this finale confirms exactly what Dr. Du Maurier’s (Gillian Anderson) warned last episode: Hannibal is always in control. Despite Jack’s fighting skills, Alana’s bullets and Will’s knowledge that everyone is in danger, by the time that the credits roll, all of our protagonists lie dying on the floor. Regardless of who survives to see S3 and chase Hannibal and Du Maurier around Europe, they’ll have to live with the knowledge that Hannibal played them, and even after they knew he was a killer, he still outmaneuvered them and got away. To which I say: thank god we’re getting a third season of this amazing show.
- The return of Abigail shouldn’t have been surprising (although I’ll confess I was taken aback). Not only did we never actually see her die in 1×12 ‘Relevés’ (always a tell-tale sign), the last few episodes have repeatedly brought her back into the conversation. Remember Will’s conversation with Hannibal about fatherhood back in 2×11 ‘Kō No Mono’ when he mentioned feeling like a father to her? Even the return of Garrett Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Cubrt) earlier in the episode is a tip-off.
- Although Alana’s 180 didn’t make a lot of sense, she does get two of the most visually memorable sequences in the episode. First she tells Will how she’s feeling, describing feeling penetrated by darkness as the surreal imagery shows her slowly disappearing under inky water (it actually reminded me of her smoky visual back in 2×03 ‘Hassun’). The other scene is, of course, her shocking fall out of the window at Abigail’s hands. There’s something disconcertingly beautiful about a slow-motion fall from on high; the mixture of the falling rain, the glass, and her billowing hair is morbidly gorgeous.
- I’ll admit that I didn’t fully understand why Abigail would push Alana out of the window until I read a few comments that Hannibal psychologically manipulates his captives. If we remember he essentially programmed Miriam Lass to shoot (and possibly kill) Dr. Chilton, so it’s reasonable to assume that he’s been breaking Abigail’s will the entire time he’s had her imprisoned. Alss, she was already a bit damaged even before he took her…
- I wonder how Kade will feel about these climatic moments. I imagine she will still be in charge since Jack might be a) dead or b) out of commission. (Side Note: Laurence Fishburne is exec producing and guest starring in ABC’s Black-ish, but I doubt that that will interfere with his Hannibal duties, as it is his first position show)
- Finally, Du Maurier is accompanying Hannibal to Europe. Does her presence suggest she has been in cahoots with him the whole time, or has she simply decided that it is better to try and remain on his good side in the hopes that he won’t kill her as a result? Perhaps he’s still manipulating her like all of the other women in his life…
‘Mizumono’ brings Hannibal S2 to a conclusion. What are your thoughts on the finale? Who do you think lived? Who died? Was Alana’s sudden turn-around confusing? Were you surprised to see Abigail? And why is Du Maurier traveling with Hannibal? Sound off below.
Hannibal has now finished airing its second season on NBC. It has been renewed for season three and will likely return in the spring of 2015. Thanks for reading and commenting!